Monday, April 10, 2006

Birds and windfarms

In Australia last week, the conservative federal government invoked a rarely-used power to block a proposed windfarm, citing the need to protect the orange-bellied parrot.

Windfarms are an interesting political issue, often pitting local environmental concerns against global environmental concerns, as this quote from the story indicates:
Environment Minister Senator Ian Campbell has rejected a $220 million 52-turbine wind farm because of a perceived threat to the endangered orange-bellied parrot.

There are only 200 of the birds left in the wild and Senator Campbell has received a report that predicted one could be killed every year.

Mr La Fontaine [from the Wind Energy Association] says the Minister's view is too narrow. "The Minister is rightly concerned that the bird is to become extinct by 2050 but if we don't do anything about greenhouse challenge and how Australia addresses climate change the world is in danger of losing a quarter of all it species," he said.

Harry Clarke suggests that economics can provide a way out of the apparent impasse. That seems sensible to me, when the political alternative is that the potential death of one bird a year stops a $220 million renewable energy development.

3 comments:

The Man Who Sold the World said...

species become extinct as a natural part of evolution... if the orange bellied parrots wanna survive a couple of 'em are gonna have to learn to live with windfarms. screw the birds... save the world already. and like normal power plants haven't made species go extinct before.... hah. what ridiculous politicians. someday bloggers will rule the world, and it will be alll good.

peace

Vincenze said...

species become extinct as a natural part of evolution...

define "natural".

David, similar issue arose over at grist back in Jan.

http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/1/6/172045/7999

I think you're right in saying you need to way things up, but also we need to look at the bigger picture.

Should we support continually development of Big wind farms, big electricity grids, big water systems.... or perhaps smaller scale local solutions???

Vincenze.

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